For my social justice event I attended a guest speaker at the college. His name was Chris Herren, and he was a former college basketball prodigy and NBA player. He struggled with addiction since his first year of college at BC, and continued to struggle for many years afterward. He was born and raised in Fall River, Massachusetts. He travels around to high schools and college campuses around the United States to tell his story. He became addicted to cocaine at age 18, and that only spiraled into other drugs and substances in the years to come. Before college, he considered himself as a regular kid, who went out on the weekends and drank and smoked, but he would never get into anything else. When he reached college he felt a tremendous amount of pressure because he received a full basketball scholarship. In short, all of the things that he worked so hard to achieve went down the drain after he failed multiple drugged tests and lost his scholarship and was kicked out of school.
By a miracle of a chance, he was given a second shot by Fresno State in California. He flew out there, but by then his addiction was full blown. He entered a rehab facility, but asked to leave early to witness the birth of his second child. He never went back to rehab and continued on struggling with his addiction. He played professional basketball both in the NBA and overseas, all the while maintaining his drug addiction. After some time and some help, he began to find his way and got sober. He has been sober ever since.
I really think that this can be related to McIntosh’s idea of invisible privilege and power. Being a talented, white basketball player from New England, no one thought that this kind of thing could happen to Chris, he didn’t even believe it himself. Throughout the whole presentation he was telling us how he always thought that he could stop, and he never viewed himself as an addict and that is what took him so long to get help and get sober. But since he was not actively paying attention to his problem, and neither was anyone else, it went unnoticed for a very long time, which is exactly what McIntosh said will happen.
The link above is to Chris Herren's website that will provide you with more insight into his life and his story.